The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Of the hundreds of dessert recipes I have on my blog, I realized that I didn’t have a chocolate cake recipe so I changed that.

With the easiest, one-bowl, five minute, from-scratch chocolate cake you’ll ever make.

If you’re addicted to cake mix, you can break free. I’ve been there.

I made this cake without a mixer and it was ready to go from bowl to oven in less than five minutes with just a couple turns of the whisk.

I’m the first to admit that cake mixes can be great because they’re convenient, the results are nearly guaranteed, and they produce moist and light cakes.

This scratch cake does the same.

Except it’s darker, richer, and more intensely chocolaty than a cake mix chocolate cake, which is a good thing if you like a nice dark, deeply chocolaty, chocolate cake.

One way in which I kept the cake moist was by adding yogurt, which can be replaced with sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Just don’t use light or diet yogurt or sour cream. Use thicker or Greek-style full-fat yogurt. You’re making chocolate cake, not diet food, so forego the watery diet yogurt.

I also kept the use of baking powder to a bare minimum because I find it dries out cupcakes, muffins, and cakes. The recipe uses just enough to give the cake lightness and lift so that it isn’t confused with the denser and flatter chocolate slab that we all know as a brownie.

Finally, I do love butter and will almost always choose butter over oil in baking; except when baking a cake. Oil produces a moister cake in my experience and since all that lovely buttery flavor is going to be masked anyway from the cocoa powder, you’re not giving up anything in the flavor department and gaining worlds in the moisture category by using oil rather than butter. A win-win for oil.

Not sold on the cake yet? Allow me to sell you on the chocolate ganache.

Ganache is made by heating cream and pouring it over chocolate and I kept this ganache super simple by heating the cream in the microwave. You could heat it over the stove, but why bother.

The beauty of the ganache is that even after it sets up, it still has a juicy quality to it in comparison to say buttercream frosting, which can become a bit hardened around the edges after it’s been exposed to air for a few hours. Crunchy frosting is never a good thing.

If frosting can taste elegant and classy, this ganache is how; as opposed to this frosting which is more along the lines of a finger-lickin’ good frosting.

There’s no sugar added to the ganache and it’s only as sweet as the chocolate you select, which in my case was semi-sweet chocolate chips. Go as milky or dark as you enjoy. Feel free to spike your ganache with a couple tablespoons of bourbon, rum, or a fancy flavored liqueur.

Skylar requested this cake for her next birthday and Scott said, “Good idea, honey. This cake does taste like chocolate birthday cake tastes.”

Yes, of course it does because most chocolate birthday cakes are cake mix cakes.

Now you can bypass the cake mix and make this in five minutes instead.

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache - The best chocolate cake I've ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time! 

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The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache

This is the best chocolate cake I've ever had or made, and it's the easiest. One bowl, no-mixer, no creaming ingredients, and nothing funny. This cake is fast, easy, and always delivers amazing results. You can bake it as cupcakes, too. The ganache is rich and velvety, and the perfect pairing with this deep, dark, not-too-sweet, and very moist cake. The cake is a reader favorite!

Yield: one 9-by-9-inch square cake, 12 generous pieces

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 25 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes, to allow for cooling


Chocolate Cake

1 large egg

1 cup granulated sugar

6 ounces plain, vanilla, or chocolate yogurt (thicker Greek-style preferred, do not use diet, fat-free or light yogurt; sour cream may be substituted)

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Chocolate Ganache

9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur)


Cake - Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking or grease and flour a 10-inch round cake pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee, cocoa powder (I used Hershey's), and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute. Note about coffee: The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor; I highly recommend coffee but use water if you must. The coffee can be any temperature other than piping hot; you don’t want to scramble the egg.

Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Ganache - Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds.

Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety.

Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife. Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.

Related Recipes

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake Bars – these use cake mix but the preparation method isn’t traditional

Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting – my favorite brownie base recipe which is as easy as making brownies from a box, I promise; and it’s the brownie base I use for all brownies before doctoring them up with other add-ins or tweaks

Frozen Chocolate Pudding and Wafer Cake (No-Bake, 3 ingredients)

Chocolate Cake Batter Milkshake

Do you have a favorite from scratch cake recipe?

Feel free to link it up; chocolate, yellow, vanilla, carrot, red velvet, whatever it is as long as it’s amazing.

How often do you use cake mixes?

I did a 15 Recipes Using Cake Mix (But None of Them Actually Make a Cake) post and since then, I’ve really cut down on the amount of cake mix I use. They have their time and place, and I will always use them I’m sure.

However, I’d like to post more classic type recipes on my blog and an easy, but practical, tasty, and moist chocolate cake from scratch was a good place to start.


269 Responses to “The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache”

  1. #
    fides — February 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I hardly comment on any food blog sites, but this one I will.

    Made it the other day…and yeah… this was as good as it looks, and too dangerous because it was to easy to make too. Hubby and I fought over the last piece, of course I won because I had leftover coffee to go with it. I used Hershey’s dark cocoa powder and for the frosting used half-n-half and Ghirardelli’s 60% & some 70% dark chocolate and it was perfect.

    You are so right about the butter vs. oil, because this cake kept its original texture even after being in the fridge for 3 days. Love that it only has 1 egg and 1/4 cup of oil – not crazy about chocolate cake recipes that require 2 sticks of butter!

    Hubby said I need to make another one tonite. Thanks for the recipe!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 4th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      not crazy about chocolate cake recipes that require 2 sticks of butter! = neither am I!

      Glad you loved it and thanks for commenting and that’s cute that you fought over the last piece :)


  2. #
    Sheila — February 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’m not much of a baker, but your pictures make me want to make this cake! To use the batter for cupcakes, though, how many cupcakes would it make and what temperature and timing would I use? Thanks very much.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 7th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      I would bake at 350F until they’re done. Normally cupcakes take 18-20 mins but it really depends on your oven, the batter, how full they’re filled, etc.


  3. #
    candice — February 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I found your recipe via Pinterest and made it for a friend’s birthday who requested chocolate on chocolate! It was such an easy recipe, thank you for all of your notes and tips- it turned out AMAZING! Everyone loved it, especially and most importantly the birthday gal! This recipe instantly made my favorites list and I can’t wait to make it again. Thank you, Thank you!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 8th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Im glad you loved it! Thanks for trying it & I hope your friend had a happy bday :)


  4. #
    Marcell — February 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Followed recipe as written….don’t change a thing. Perfect for a chocolate fix and so simple. Awesome!!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 16th, 2014 at 1:06 am

      I’m glad you love it, as written, and wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks, Marcell!


  5. #
    Carrie — February 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Looks delish! My 3 year old has requested a chocoalte cake for her Bday and for her school cupcakes…any way to replace the coffee with something? Sounds amazing just concerned about 3 years hopped up on caffeine? hehe


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 17th, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      There’s really no substitutes. I’m sure there’s more caffeine in the overall chocolate used in the cake between all the cake and ganache than from the coffee added. They probably get more caffeine eating Halloween candy. I personally wouldn’t worry about it but do as you see fit. It’s great cake and it would maybe come out to 2 teaspoons per each cupcake, if that! :)


      • Marilyn replied: — April 23rd, 2014 at 11:23 am

        I made it with decaf coffee when I made it. It tasted fine. Although you’re probably right to be more worried about all the caffeine and sugar in the chocolate.

  6. #
    helene — February 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Can I double the recipe and turn it into a layer cake?


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 28th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Yes I’m sure that would be fine although I haven’t personally tried.


      • helene replied: — March 1st, 2014 at 4:52 am

        I baked it in a large rectangle pan, cut it into two halves and then sliced each half to end up with four 8 x 8 pieces. I assembled with thin layer of ganache topped with a thicker layer of ganache on top. Then placed lots of fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate. This made for an easy special occasion cake, totally delicious. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 1st, 2014 at 12:59 pm

          I love your idea of stacking the 2 halves and filled & topped with ganache and strawberries dipped in chocolate. I bet the presentation was stunning! Glad you enjoyed this cake!

  7. #
    T. Benson — March 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I am thinking of making a cake for my Husband on our 3rd anniversary this Friday. I want to make a “surprise” cake (with a surprise heart inside). Do you think that I can incorperate your chocolate cake with the secret heart inside, instead of the cake this “surprise ” cake recipe? If so, how much time should I bake your cake in an 8×4 loaf pan??? Thanks in advance :)


    • T. Benson replied: — March 17th, 2014 at 10:57 am

      incorperate –> I meant cooperate (excuse my english). I forgot to send you the link of the suprise cake I found on pinterest, my description might not be so clear


      • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 17th, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        I don’t have any experience baking a cake within a cake and really cannot comment. That said, this is not a ‘tall’ cake and I think you’d have problems fitting anything inside it, unless you make a 2-3x batch and turned it into a layer cake and then you’d have to work on getting the other cake into it which I don’t have any experience with.

  8. #
    T. Benson — March 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for so much for your quick response :)


  9. #
    Michelle — March 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Made this today…absolutely delicious. This is my first time ever making a cake without butter, the sour cream made it so moist!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 18th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks for trying it and glad you’re so happy! And yes, butter-free cakes that are based on oil, greek yogurt or sour cream…always softer & moister than butter-based ones in my opinion!


  10. #
    Esmile — April 3, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Saludos. Que gran pagina tienen. Pero me gustaría saber si pueden pasar las medidas a gramos. Y Como soy de Venezuela no encuentro casi ningún producto podrías recomendarme una pagina donde comprar el chocolate Hershey y los bombones que son de melosa cubiertos de chocolates, que usas para los cupcakes rellenos. Gracias de ante mano


  11. #
    Linda — April 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I made this cake for my family and everyone loved, loved, loved it! The cake was so moist and light. However I thought my ganache never really firmed up, I just poured it on the cake, there was no need to spread it. I did use 2 tbls. of bourbon instead of vanilla, could that be the reason? Thank you for this delish recipe :)


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 7th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Glad you loved the cake! If your ganache never firmed up fully, next time I would cut down on the milk/cream slightly or up the amount of choc chips. It can be a delicate balance to get it just firm enough, but not too firm. Just play with it a little bit. The bourbon vs. vanilla really wouldn’t matter per se; but you could easily solve this I’m sure by just decreasing the milk amount a bit. Glad you loved the cake!


  12. #
    liz — April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm


    oh wait, you’re probably wondering why you’re being thanked, besides the obvious (easy cake, hello): my boyfriend’s birthday party is saturday and i am swamped with work and running around getting things done and i don’t have a mixer with a paddle attachment and he WANTS CAKE and i WANT TO GIVE HIM CAKE and this is all one sentence. so yes, thank you. this + the ganache + raspberry mascarpone = happy birthday!

    small question: would you suggest dutched cocoa with this recipe? we’re both fans of black chocolate cake.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 17th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      You can use either type of cocoa but b/c Dutched is about 4x the price of non for me, I 99% of the time just use what I can get at my local supermarket. Happy Bday to your bf!


  13. #
    Anna — May 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    This looks so good I almost licked the screen. I’ll be making it for a friend’s birthday. One question…does the ganache allow writing on it? (With icing, of course.) Or will the words slide right off the ganache?

    Gorgeous blog!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 13th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      The ganache is pretty drippy and slick. If you want to write on it with icing, I’d use a traditional choc buttercream or similar buttercream. But not a ganache. Honestly though, I’d skip the writing and make the ganache and save the writing for a card :) b/c I think the ganache is a key element to the cake’s flavor!


  14. #
    Dee W — June 25, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Hi, Averie. This cake is fabulous! Apparently it was one of my daughter’s beanie babies’ birthday this past Sunday and my kids all wanted me to bake a chocolate cake for him (lol). I was able to quickly whip up this cake and it was a hit. Definitely a keeper — very moist and nice and light. Thanks!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 25th, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Glad you made this cake and that everyone enjoyed it and bravo to you for cooking for your daughter’s beanie babies’ bday – wow, you get mom of the YEAR award for that one!! So impressed :) Thanks for the great feedback on the cake!


  15. #
    Melody — July 4, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Averie, I am so looking forward to making this for my upcoming birthday! Is it possible to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder instead if natural for this recipe? I’m in Malaysia and I have the Van Houten brand.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 4th, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I think that will be okay. I don’t use Dutch-processed because in the US it’s much harder to get and more expensive, but I think you will be fine!


      • Melody replied: — July 18th, 2014 at 4:56 am

        I ended using natural cocoa powder. The cake was absolutely marvelous! I’ve made it twice now, and added a pinch of instant coffee to the ganache frosting when I made it the second time for a deeper chocolate taste. Thank you so much!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 18th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

          Thanks for trying the cake, Melody, and I’m so glad you love it! Great idea to add instant coffee to the ganache, too! Thanks for sharing.

  16. #
    Eram — July 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Hi…love this recipe I’ve tried it so many times. Now I want to make in 9×13 pan…if I double the recipe would it be fine.? I want to cover it with buttercream . Do u have a recipe for that.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 20th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      I think you’re fine to double it for a 9×13 although I haven’t personally tried.


  17. #
    Sabrina — August 13, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Awesome recipe – looks really simple, and yes, I’m tired of all the cake mix recipes myself:). I’m not very good at baking and have a (silly) question, if you don’t mind – is there a difference between heavy cream and whipped cream? Can I use whipped cream for the ganache instead of heavy cream? Thanks for sharing this recipe!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Heavy and whipping cream only differ in fat percentage, usually about 40 to 48% fat, depending on brand, type, etc. For this recipe, you can use either.


  18. #
    Nina — August 23, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Hi! I would love to try this recipe as I am a huge fan of a moist chocolaty chocolate cake but I do not wish to incorporate coffee in it. What should I do? Is it possible to totally make this recipe without the coffee or can I substitute it with something else? Thanks!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:44 am

      I urge you to use coffee because like I said, it doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee, at all. If there is a medical reason you don’t want to use it or a more serious reason, I totally understand; but if you’re just judging by your personal preferences, even those who don’t like coffee love this cake, as written. It’s called THE BEST for a reason – make as written is my advice. Water can be used but it will effect final taste results.


  19. #
    M — September 4, 2014 at 6:53 am


    I was just wondering if the texture will vary very much if the batter was used to make cupcakes instead of a cake?


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 4th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Many readers have used this recipe to make cupcakes with good results.


  20. #
    Erjona — September 5, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Thanks for this recipe. I just tried it and it turned up very delicious.


  21. #
    Walda — September 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I live alone, and usually freeze a cake and then cut it up into serving pieces, wrap them individually, and then put them in the freezer (my freezer is not self-defrosting, so it doesn’t draw the moisture out of anything). Can this cake be frozen with the ganache topping?


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 15th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Sure – give it a try! Worst that can happen is it’s not ‘perfect’ when you take it out of freezer and you scrape off the frosting. Right!


  22. #
    Amanda — September 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    My daughter turning 6 this week really wanted a chocolate cake for her birthday but she has a soy allergy. It’s hard to find a cake that is soy free and taste good. This turned out amazing the only difference I had to make was to get Joy Life allergy free chocolate chips. Thanks so much for this and how easy it was. I’m not a baker and it was easy for me.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 19th, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Happy bday to your daughter and glad this worked out as her bday cake, allergy-free and everything for her! Excellent! :)


  23. #
    Sheila — September 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hello Avery!

    Will this recipe work at high altitude? Or should I adjust it? It looks too delicious to pass up and I’m new at baking at high altitudes.
    Thank you!!


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 30th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      I live at sea level (San Diego) and am not an expert on altitude baking. I would make the recipe as written and then if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, you can always tweak it from there.


      • Sheila replied: — September 30th, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        I’ll report back with my results ;) I absolutely have to try this! Thank you for replying!

  24. #
    iram — September 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Averie,
    I only have an 8×8 pan. Will I need to add a few minutes or do I need to just buy the 9in pan? thanks in advance. :) Hope you and your family are well


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 30th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      You can probably use an 8×8 although I haven’t tried. Just add some time, yes, as necessary til it’s done. Enjoy!


  25. #
    Jenifer — October 13, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I see some chocolate cake recipes call for coffee.. just curious as to why and do I really have to use it in the recipe for it to taste better?


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 13th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      It intensifies and deepens the chocolate flavor. It’s up to you to use it or not, but I recommend doing so.


  26. #
    Maryanne — November 3, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Looks wonderful. Making it today for my son’s birthday.

    Your site is a little frustrating to use though. All the ads slow it down tremendously. When I printed the recipe all sorts of ads popped up and bogged it down and made my browser crash the first try. There are so many great food blogs out there that I usually won’t come to a site like this twice just for this reason alone.

    Really looking forward to this cake though.


    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 3rd, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Sorry about the slowness. My site experience record-breaking traffic over the weekend and there were literally hundreds of thousands of people who came to my site over the weekend and with all that traffic, it will run slower. I just upgraded my servers so hopefully that will not happen in the future.

      Enjoy the cake! It’s one of my favorites!


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